Most Amazing Hoop House Piping for Season Extension


| 7/5/2016 2:21:00 PM


Tags: hoop houses, season extension, greenhouses, winter gardening, fall gardening, Oregon, Charlyn Ellis,

 

Extending the growing season in the Pacific Northwest can be tricky. There are two limiting factors — light and warmth. Without adding electric lights, there is not much we can do about the amount of light we receive. The region is divided by the 45th parallel. In winter, the sun comes up around 7am, sets by 4:30pm, is low in the sky, and is often obscured by clouds.

When I experimented with lettuce seed in the new greenhouse last January by planting a 6-pack every Saturday for 2 months, none of it sprouted for weeks, then it sat in the 6-packs, waiting for light, until Mid-February, when it all took off.  Without lights, nothing will really grow between Halloween and Candlemas.

The goal in winter gardening is to get the growth on by the early fall, as the light declines,  keep it for harvest in the mid-winter and  protect the crops waiting for spring in the fields. Then, in the spring, we want to dry and prep the soil a little earlier, plant out tough early crops, and provide a little extra warmth until the light levels really kick in. This is where flexible hoop houses come into action.

PVC vs Aluminum Tubes for Hoop Houses

After messing around for years with PVC pipe found by the side of the road (free!) and repurposed windows on a wooden cold frame (also free!), I have upgraded to 10-foot-long aluminum tubes, bent by a friend in exchange for a hand-knit hat. They are amazing, both in my home garden of raised beds and in the fields of Sunbow Farm, where I first saw them in action.

ecostewards
11/23/2016 7:48:01 AM

Instead of expensive spring clamps to hold the plastic sheeting in place, I bought a length of black PVC plastic pipe for about $10, which provided enough clamps for six 4' x 8" raised beds. The inside diameter of the black pipe matches the outside diameter of the pipe used for the hoop. I then cut the black pipe into 3" lengths and t slit them open down their length, to form tube clamps that easily fit over the plastic sheeting and the hoops. I use five "tube" clamps on each hoop and they stay on all winter. They also work extremely well for keeping row cover in place in spring and summer. They slide easily on the hoops, so that I can raise and lower the sides of the plastic or mesh to let in air and to water the plants inside the hoops.


ecostewards
11/23/2016 7:46:38 AM

Instead of expensive spring clamps to hold the plastic sheeting in place, I bought a length of black PVC plastic pipe for about $10, which provided enough clamps for six 4' x 8" raised beds. The inside diameter of the black pipe matches the outside diameter of the pipe used for the hoop. I then cut the black pipe into 3" lengths and t slit them open down their length, to form tube clamps that easily fit over the plastic sheeting and the hoops. I use five "tube" clamps on each hoop and they stay on all winter. They also work extremely well for keeping row cover in place in spring and summer. They slide easily on the hoops, so that I can raise and lower the sides of the plastic or mesh to let in air and to water the plants inside the hoops.





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